Midnight Angel by Carly Phillips:
I really liked this story because it was very believable. Two high school sweethearts went their separate ways after graduation because the guy wasn't ready to settle down. After they've both matured as adults and established themselves in their careers, they reunite 10 years later when he realizes that all the fame and fortune in the world isn't worth anything compared to the true love he left behind. Dylan certainly knows how to woo a woman, with lots of romance and sentimentality, which I found VERY appealing. Holly is distrusting at first, because Dylan broke her heart when he left her 10 years earlier, and she finds it hard to believe that he really means to settle down to a quiet life with her and give up his more glamourous life and women. But she is smart enough to understand why he left then, and why he returned now. And she knows she must follow her heart and choose the man with whom she shares this deep passion and electrical connection, rather than settle for a safer relationship with someone she isn't "wildly in love' with. (I did find it hard to imagine that John gave up Holly so easily and stepped aside when Dylan came back into her life). The sexuality is very steamy and somewhat graphic, especially the scene involving Marshmallow Fluff. The dialogue is very realistic and compassionate, and not full of unnecessary conflict and hurtful bickering like most other romance novels.
Meet Me At Midnight by Janelle Dennison:
I was very moved and deeply touched by this realistic story. Shane was the-boy-next-door and had a platonic brotherly-sisterly relationship with Alyssa since childhood. They both suppressed their attraction and romantic/sexual interest for the other because they didn't realize it was reciprocal, and therefore feared it would jeopardize their best-friendship. When committment-phobic Alyssa announces her resolution to settle down and marry because she doesn't want to end up lonely, Shane can't imagine her with any man other than himself. Out of this jealousy, he devises a brilliant and very romantic plan to quickly help Alyssa realize that he's the only one for her. The dialogue between these two flows very naturally. The feelings expressed are genuine, sweet and caring. And I found it most refreshing that although Alyssa expressed feeling self-conscious about her not-so-skinny body, Shane was greatly attracted to her womanly curves and sexy voluptuousness.
Mine At Midnight by Jacquie D'Alessandro:
This was a good story, but sort of a let-down after reading the first two which centered around couples with a long history together eventually finding soul-mates in each other. The couple in this last story had a casual business relationship for two years, without ever having shared anything personal during that time. Merrie was annoyingly perky, and Tom was such a stick-in-the-mud that it was hard to imagine that these two had what it takes to form a lasting relationship. They didn't seem at all compatable, making the story less believable and realistic. The situation that threw them together seemed hokey and contrived, as did much of the dialogue. I warmed up to Tom after he became Santa because of the meaningful way he interacted with the children. As Merrie and Tom began working more closely together as elf and Santa, they revealed a common childhood experience, and although they each handled it in very different ways (which accounts for their opposite personality types), this was the common bond upon which their relationship blossomed, however it always seemed to be more about the sex than about any deep or true soul-mate kind of love. Just an OK story for me, whereas the first two bowled me over.